Bill Laswell

Hashisheen: The End of Law

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Ubiquitous bassist and producer Bill Laswell's fascination with Arabic culture has led him into numerous strange and wonderful projects, including a field recording of Morocco's Master Musicians of Jajouka, a collaboration with William Burroughs on accompanied readings of mystical Egyptian texts, and this, an all-star program on which performers as diverse as Iggy Pop, Hakim Bey, William Burroughs, Patti Smith and the notorious Genesis P. Orridge (of Psychic TV infamy) read selections from ancient and modern texts written by or about the Hashisheen (or Assassins). The Hashisheen were an esoteric terrorist sect founded in 11th-century Persia by Hasan-i Sabbah, and the writings collected here are eerily beautiful: "I am the one near who does not depart," goes one passage. "If I punish you, it is my justice; if I forgive you, it is my generosity and my excellence. I am the master of mercy and dispenser of forgiveness and of the clear truth." Like the readings, the music that accompanies them is disturbing and perfect: Laswell is a long-established master of the dark, deep groove, and when Jah Wobble or Anton Fier takes the reins the results are no less powerful. Highly recommended.

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